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Volunteer opportunities: school governance

Our links with our Church schools are a treasured part of our life as churches in this Team and school governors play an essential role in supporting their work. Volunteering as a school governor is a way of making a positive difference to the lives of local children, but not everyone realises what a rewarding opportunity it can be. Here in the Shaftesbury Team Ministry we are greatly blessed by the links we have with our local schools. We see those links in action in our churches when children and young people from the schools visit our lessons, hold concerts or contribute to our worship, and when we gather for 'Messy Church' in Motcombe School. Those links are also visible in the life of the schools when our clergy lead worship, and through all that is done by the many members of our churches who are volunteers helping with clubs, reading, or as governors.

At the moment we have a number of governance opportunities for volunteers in the schools that make up the Southern Academy Trust. Our Rector, Revd Helen Dawes, is responsible for appointing the Foundation (‘church’) governors for these schools, and also the Foundation Directors of the Trust Board itself. Foundation Governors and Directors share in the general work of the Governing Body or Board, but also have a special responsibility for the Christian ethos of the school or trust.

There is one vacancy for a Foundation Governor in each of Shaftesbury School (Secondary), Shaftesbury C of E VC Primary School, and Motcombe C of E VA Primary School. From Easter, there will also be a vacancy for a Foundation Director on the Board of the Southern Academy Trust. Each appointment is for two years, renewable. The work of the school governing bodies is largely focused on teaching and learning within that school, whereas the work of the Trust Board is more focused on the strategic direction of the Trust as a whole.

You don’t need to have worked in education to take on one of these posts, you just need to be interested in education and willing to learn. What is most important is that you want to use your skills to support our schools in the work they do with children and families. You also need to be willing to give up time for meetings, to read papers in advance, to attend training from time to time as necessary, and to become involved with the life of the school. Because these roles involve actively supporting the schools and the Trust to develop and maintain their Christian ethos you will need to be a communicant member of a church that belongs to the national ecumenical organisation, CTBI. For the Director role it would be an advantage to have experience in one or more of education, finance or working at board level.

If you would like to have a chat about what one or other of these roles might involve and how the skills you can bring could make a difference to children and young people in our area, please get in touch with the Revd Helen Dawes (helen@stmin.org.uk). If you’d like to know more, but aren’t a church member, Revd Helen can also put you in touch with the people who appoint non-Foundation governors and directors.